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Anticipate: Knowing What Customers Need Before They Do by Jeff Tobe, Bill Thomas

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Chapter 7

Customer Focus Is a Process—Not an Event

  • Ten common derailers of the customer focus journey
  • The role, mindset, and discipline of process improvement
  • Customer–Supplier Workouts—Value Chain Labs®

We’ve mentioned before that launching and sustaining the customer focus journey is not for the faint of heart. Just like any business strategy, staying the course requires a company to anticipate and be ready to decisively address the obstacles that will arise over time. One thing we too frequently see companies do at the outset, which creates a self-inflicted obstacle, is to call their customer focus a program, initiative, project, campaign, or some other seemingly temporary endeavor. These terms or labels paint the entirely wrong picture and create the wrong expectations. Moreover, these labels are often associated with the same derailers or pitfalls that cause such events, or initiatives du jour, to end up on the program scrap pile. As mentioned earlier, a number of people will instinctively look for ways to distance themselves from anything they view as a flash-in-the-pan event. They feel that, like so many other prior initiatives, this one too shall pass. I outlasted this company’s last “brilliant idea,” and I’ll outlast this one. That’s one reason why we very purposefully refer to customer focus as a journey or a process.

Customer focus is a process . . . not an event. When companies treat it like an event, the results are going to be . . . uneventful!

Regardless of ...

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